Reliving the Glory Days?
Without Sega's competing BLAST PROCESSING, it's just not the same.
If you were paying attention yesterday during Nintendo’s "Nintendo Direct" address, you might’ve noticed a common theme undercutting the entire broadcast. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest properties put on display: Yoshi’s Island 3, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, The Legend of Zelda (A Link to the Past 2), Earthbound, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which saw a change in visuals/perspective that makes it even closer in style to its spiritual predecessor, Super Mario RPG . Maybe it’s just me, but this line-up is conjuring up some strong memories of the SNES.
To Nintendo’s credit, I think they did all of this with great subtlety, not drawing immediate attention to the fact that they’re reviving and exploring these properties (or that particular incarnation of these properties) from the SNES. If nothing more, it’s an interesting strategy to bring lapsed gamers back into their fold.
Yes, Nintendo totally announced this for the Wii U Virtual Console. I know, right!?
For many, Nintendo of the SNES era is the best incarnation of Nintendo, providing some of the strongest properties and the most impressive third party support in the company’s history. Assuming this strategy reaches beyond the confines of yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, I have to wonder - what do they have up their sleeve for E3 in a couple of months?
Perhaps the long-awaited return of F-Zero or StarFox? Maybe something in the vein of Super Metroid? Or perhaps a new console version of PilotWings? Heck, it could even be a continuation of a unique SNES Kirby property (please be Dream Course!).
It’s an exciting proposition that Nintendo might just be revisiting this great era in their history, but I hope they don’t lose sight of what made many of those games so great. These iterations need to not be too heavy-handed with the gimmicks or they’re sure to lose the support of the fans they’re trying to regain.
More importantly, I have to wonder if this is part of a larger strategy for the company. Of course they want to draw back in fans with memorable properties, but how do they keep the ball rolling? I hope that in the wings they’re building up a catalog of new franchises that will define this generation in the company’s history. Retreading familiar ground is nice and will likely move some systems, but it’s not going to create or retain long term fans.
Here’s to hoping that Nintendo has companies like Retro Studios working on something fresh/new that will turn a few heads and build some steam for the currently flagging Wii U.
What do you guys think? Am I insane here? Is Nintendo really revisiting this lost era or is it sheer coincidence? Do you think we’ll see more SNES revivals at E3? Let me know in the comments below!